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Cutbacks forced by restoration costs

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The cost of clearing away asbestos and
other debris from inside the bomb-damaged Journal Record Building
will force a number of changes in the plans for the building that
will house a portion of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Kari Ferguson, executive director of the national memorial, said
the project changes are disappointing, but still acceptable.

"We would love to have everything, but there is the reality of
having a budget, good or bad," she said. "The trust members are
doing the best they can."

Engineers told the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural
Facilities Trust on Wednesday that building repairs may have to be
pared to stay within a $7 million budget. Demolition costs have
risen by $1 million because of asbestos and other debris inside the
structure, which will house the bombing memorial museum.

Max Wensel, the Journal Record's project manager, said the
debris and mess inside the building made a standard asbestos
evaluation impossible. Consultants were called whenever the
demolition contractor found asbestos-like material. If it was
asbestos, the asbestos removal contractor removed it.

"This wasn't a typical building," Wensel said. "It was
already demolished, basically, before work began. You could barely
walk through it."

The Oklahoma City National Memorial will be the centerpiece
occupant for the building, which was heavily damaged when a bomb
destroyed the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19,
1995.

Among the items being cut are glass walls that would have
created the impression of looking out through a bomb-damaged
building onto the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The interior glass walls would have separated the old southside
building windows from the interior on each of the floors. From the
outside, the southside would have appeared much as it was
immediately after the bombing.

Engineers now recommend using standard, dark-glazed windows in
the existing window openings.

Other planned renovations are being separated into alternate bid
packages that could be completed if costs allow. Among the
alternates are preparing the fourth and fifth floors for tenants
and installing a lightning protection system.

One elevator may be installed instead of two and two sides of
the building may not be landscaped. A single rooftop air-handling
unit may be replaced by smaller units on each floor.

Plans for the Journal Record renovation should be released Oct.
15 when advertisements are placed seeking bids from contractors.
Bids will be opened Nov. 16.

The Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust, which bought the
building with a federal bombing recovery loan, will meet Nov. 23 to
award a contract for the work.

The $7 million for demolition and rehabilitation was a grant
from Congress for bombing recovery.
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